Day 131 mile 2435.3 – 2457.2
Elevation: ascent 5,486 ft, descent 5,247 ft
We both woke this morning feeling like we had been put in a smoker over night. The easterly winds had been pushing in the smoke from fires burning to the east of us. Being near the lake also brought moisture to the air which made it feel even colder this morning. According to Double Down’s thermometer it was about 38 as we left camp.
Once back on the PCT, we found ourselves crossing over the outlet for Deep Lake. The trail builders did a great job of positioning rocks so it was easy to cross. After that it was a steady climb out of the valley. The climb afforded us great views back down on Deep Lake and also the snow riddled surrounding mountains. Double Down even spotted a mushroom we hadn’t seen before. The mushrooms have taken over for the wildflowers we use to see.
At the top of the climb we found some cell reception and went to work on getting a blog post up. It’s definitely getting harder to keep these things going out on time since the areas with cell reception are dwindling. While there, we met two more thru hikers who started in April, Machine and Cosmic. We found ourselves leap frogging with them most of the day (forgot to get a picture with them).
After our long break on top we crested a ridge and headed down into a new valley. The problem we had with today was visibility. The smoke was obscuring the distant views and made us feel like we were nearsighted, as only peaks and lakes close by seemed to be in focus. At the bottom of the valley we had to cross a stream on four logs that had been tied together, making a make shift bridge. Besides the logs bowing with our weight it was a pretty easy crossing.
Now it was time to climb back up out of this new valley we had just gotten into. We reached Deception Lakes at 1:30, which was a great spot for lunch. The clear green waters made for a very relaxing lunch break. It only would have been better if the mountain ridges around us would not have been hazed over with smoke. All of the climbing was making for slower progress then we had anticipated, which unfortunately cut our lunch shorter then either of us would have liked.
Little did we know that the afternoon’s climbing was going to be some of the worst we have had. We got over our third ridge of the day dropping us down into a valley with Glacier Lake. It was huge and beautiful!! We could barely see Glacier Peak off in the distance through the smoke. The descent down to the lake was steep and rocky making the progress slow, as we tried not to trip. Once by the lake we met our third thru hiker of the day, whom we hadn’t met yet, Home Fries. We chatted with him briefly before moving on. This is when we hit the nastiest climb we have seen. We had to climb up out of this valley in 1 1/2 miles with a little over a 1,000 feet of elevation. We were literally crawling up this hill. I think I sweated more on this climb then the rest of the day put together. With only a half mile to go I figured it would take 10-15 minutes. Boy was I wrong! Almost 30 minutes later we finally hit the top of the climb.
Now it was mostly downhill, except for a couple of smaller hills thrown in, as we headed for Mig Lake. We found the meadows really pretty as a lot of the plants are showing their fall colors already.
We got to Mig Lake at 6:45, then the rush was on to get camp set up and cook dinner before sunset. While setting up camp we were joined by another hiker, Chipmunk. He is finishing his thru hike of the PCT from last year, as a foot injury had cut his 2019 attempt short. It was nice to chat with him while having dinner. Before long the sun had set and darkness had engulfed camp. It’s hard to get everything done we used to do in a day now as we have about 2 hours less of sunlight, compared to a month ago.
Tomorrow we head toward Skykomish and a resupply, before continuing on north. Today was tough from an elevation standpoint but I think our bodies held up okay. We will see how we feel tomorrow. Thanks for continuing to follow along with our journey! Link